So the first time I ever cheesed it to the Garden Island, it was right after watching a desultory 9-7 loss to the Red Sox at home that launched a three-game sweep. In the time it took me to traipse about Kauai, the A's would go on a 2-7 schneid, culminating in a disastrous three-game sweep in Toronto. Fans of Moneyball will remember that road trip ending with Jeremy Giambi saying some things he probably shouldn't have on the flight back to Oakland. By the time I returned to the Coliseum, Frank Menechino and Carlos Pena were exiled to Sacramento and Giambi the Lesser would soon be sent to Philadelphia for a bag of used baseballs (used baseballs in this case = John Mabry). The A's were 19-25, 10 games behind the Mariners. By the time the season ended, aided and abetted by a 20-game win streak you might have heard about at some point, Oakland won the division. Let's not talk about what might have happened once the playoffs began.
So with my plane leaving for Kauai again in a scant seven hours and the A's a game out of first place, I'm hopeful that the A's will undergo some similarly dramatic transformation similar to what happened after my 2002 trip. Maybe one of the seemingly innocuous trades Billy Beane made will yield something pleasantly surprising, much as Mabry's acquisition five years ago did. Maybe the A's GM will get fed up with a player -- might I suggest the catcher who can neither hit nor run the bases -- and send him to Siberia. Maybe something will happen to make me think this team is something more than the .500-ish squad it appears to be thus far.
Or maybe the A's will just keep on keeping on.
Anyhow, this is a round-about way of explaining why the game summaries have slowed to a trickle, as I get ready for my trip, and will now become entirely non-existent as I leave the mainland. I imagine A's games will be more than a rumor to me -- I've got Gameday Audio after all, and apparently, the A's network of radio affiliates includes a station in Kihei (though a check of the station's Web site suggests it contains a lot of blowhard talk-show hosts and not much baseball). Anyhow, I hope I can pick up an inning here or there and maybe even weigh in with a pithy post or two in between mai tais.
Here's hoping that this week's trip turns out a lot for the A's than my last visit to Kauai in 2004. Oakland went 2-2 during that visit, and while it held a two-game advantage over the Angels by the time I got back to the mainland, that lead proved very temporary.